Dr. Alice Hammel remembers when Vinnie started school. He had frequent outbursts and struggled throughout most of his elementary school years; eventually, he was diagnosed as being on the autistic spectrum. Dr. Hammel, who is a nationally recognized expert on teaching music to children of all ages with special needs, said Vinnie was unusual in that he could not match pitch – at all.
Processing sound is one of the human brain’s most difficult jobs. The task involves multiple brain systems that need to be able to respond in microseconds. Over the history of human development, it has been important for survival to be able to instantly and precisely recognize the sound of a snapping twig or a crunching leaf when it’s dark.
It’s no secret that taking part in musical activities has a significant positive effect on young people’s academic achievement. There are countless news stories from reputable organizations that extol the virtues of music education, and it is easy to find discussions by experts in neuroscience about just how impactful music can be.
When hearing about the prospect of meeting and interviewing Pat Martino, all we could think about here at Pepper was how much we love his music and what musical knowledge we would learn from him. To our surprise and delight, music was not the driving force for many of the life-changing experiences in Pat Martino’s life.
On Wednesday, February 11th, the Jazz With Pepper series continued with a visit from guitar legend Pat Martino. Eager musicians of all ages filled the Exton reference center in anticipation of a master class presentation from one of the most inspirational players of our time. They were most certainly not disappointed.
Music exists within us all. You don’t have to play cello in the symphony, sing tenor in the choir, or shred a mean guitar in a metal band in order to find it.
There has been much research done on the cognitive benefits of musical activity during childhood; a recent study conducted by the University of Kansas analyzes whether or not these benefits carry over into adulthood. While more research is needed, the findings thus far are quite fascinating.
In honor of Music in Our Schools Month, and to continue our efforts to raise awareness of the importance of music education, Pepper would like to share this video.
I know what you’re thinking. How can one scientifically analyze a concept that, by its very nature, is capricious and unpredictable? Dr. Charles Limb, a faculty member of the Peabody Conservatory of Music, has done a fascinating study on the activity of the brain when engaged in a musical activity.